All over the world in late September, thousands of girls were introduced to aviation.
For the third annual Girls in Aviation Day, 74 events were held for an estimated 9,700 girls in the United States, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Switzerland, and Zambia.
The day’s mission: Help girls between the ages of 8 and 17 all across the world realize there are opportunities — and a place — for them in aviation.
“Girls in Aviation Day is a sincere attempt to ensure a diverse aviation community now and in the future,” said Women in Aviation President Dr. Peggy Chabrian. “We have no doubt that lives are changed for girls worldwide who have an experience that just may steer the course of their lives toward aviation — all done in a supportive, exciting and fun-filled environment.”
One of those events was held at Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport (KLAL) by Women in Aviation’s Heart of Florida chapter.
“It was great seeing everything come together and seeing the girls having such a great time!” said Olivia Lisbon, the chapter’s president. “For it to be our first time hosting a Girls in Aviation Day event, we had a great turnout.”
More than 150 people attended the KLAL event. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., there were guest speakers to hear, crafts to make, aircraft and a fire truck to explore, popcorn to consume, and representatives of aviation organizations to question.
The girls made and launched rudimentary rockets and colored aviation-themed artwork. The older girls took selfies in and around the aircraft.
At registration, girls received a “passport” to get stamped by representatives from the aviation organizations and at the aircraft parked just outside the terminal. They also received a pink backpack-style goodie bag filled with pamphlets, a ruler, a bracelet, stickers, aviation toys, an ICON Aviation wrap cuff, an example sectional chart from Sporty’s, and a Girls in Aviation Day magazine. Girls Scouts from Troop 652 who participated also earned the new Girl Scout Aviation Girl Fun Patch.
General Aviation News columnist and Aircraft Owners and Pilot’s Association (AOPA) Ambassador Jamie Beckett introduced the guest speakers, including Jon Brown from Jack Brown’s Seaplane Base, Jessica Roldan-Hutchinson from the Pan-Am Career Academy, Jeanine Menze, LCDR, a Coast Guard HC 130H pilot, Joanne Alcorn, who raced in the Women’s Air Race Classic, and Nicole Johnson of the Western Michigan University College of Aviation. They discussed their training, their career experiences, and answered questions.
Representatives from a number of organizations, including Civil Air Patrol, the Lakeland Aero Club and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy manned tables to hand out literature and answer the girls’ questions.
The girls also had the chance to explore a mosquito-control helicopter, an Aero L-39 Albatros from the Black Diamond Jet Team, an ICON A5 amphibious aircraft, an AOPA Piper Cub, a Pitts Special, a fire truck, a SUN ’n FUN Cessna 182, a Cirrus SR20, a Piper Cherokee, and the Rolling Gourmet food truck.
The fourth annual Women in Aviation International’s Girls in Aviation Day is set for Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018.